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Full text of "A history of Persia"

138                  HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP.
occasion visited the poet's tomb, which, as the illustration
shows, is 'situated in an open wing of a shrine erected by
Shah Abbas in memory of Mohamed Mahruk, a forgotten
relation of the Imam Riza. The Shrine is set in a formal
Persian garden, divided into four plots by cobbled paths,
which is by no means lacking in charm. Fruit-trees are
grown in it, and their blossoms still fall on the tomb of
the poet, which is cased with white plaster, but bears no
stone or inscription.
As to his famous quatrains, each of which, it is to be
remembered, is a complete unit, there is no doubt that
Omar wrote quatrains, but some of those attributed to
him are claimed to have been written by other poets,
Avicenna, for example, being the author of at least one
of the best known. When all is said, the fact remains
that Omar Khayyam, as interpreted by the genius of
FitzGerald, has touched a chord in our Anglo-Saxon
prosaic nature, and has thereby helped to bridge the deep
gulf which separates the dreaming East from the material
West
The Kabus Nama.—No Persian work with which I
am acquainted is more interesting or amusing to read than
the book of moral precepts and rules of life composed in
A.D. 1082 by Kei-Kaus, the grandson of Kabus, the Ziyarid
prince. It deals in a charming and witty fashion with
duty towards parents, age and youth, hunting, polo,
marriage, education, the sciences of medicine, astrology
and mathematics ; indeed, few subjects are ignored and
we gain a real insight into the Oriental point of view,
everything being analysed in the most simple language
by a writer who anticipated the Polonius of Shakespeare
and also the Badminton Library. Incidentally, some fifty
anecdotes, many of historical value, enrich the work.1
Al-Ghazali.—Khorasan was a rich nursery of genius,
and among its great men Al-Ghazali, the famous theologian
of Tus, ranks high. To quote Browne : " He did more
than any one else to bring to an end the reign of philo-
sophy in Islam, and to set up in its stead a devotional
1 Its importance is indicated by the fact that it is being translated into English by
E. Edwards for the Gibb Memorial Series.